From : Tourismupdate.co.za

12 June 2012

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) was recently hosted in Zimbabwe, showing that Zimbabwe is ready to welcome tourists from around the world.

Ambassador of the USA to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, said at the conference that: “US business representatives were coming to Zimbabwe because the economy was growing, and trade and investment links between the two countries were improving.”

Speaking about the importance of building better cooperation and understanding between the USA and Zimbabwe, the Ambassador said, “Zimbabwe, even with its political uncertainty, represents a potentially huge market for Americans… it has the highest literacy rate in sub-Saharan Africa, and a population that when opportunities are available, they’re very hard working and very organized and get things done.”

In an interview with one of the congress media delegates, Ambassador Ray said, “You have to look at what’s going on, on the ground, in order to understand the reality. There is a gap between the perceived risk here and the real risk. The real risk, in most cases, is far less than the perceived risk caused by the image the country has.”

Building on these themes, a special congress session, featuring Ambassador Ray and US Ambassador to Zambia, Mark Storella, was held on the second to last day of the congress. The two Ambassadors spoke about prospects for US trade and investment in the tourism sector in the neighbouring countries, along with the role the US embassies play in improving relations and facilitating exchanges.

Delegates enjoyed a tour of Victoria Falls, one of the world’s seven wonders. Many also participated in activities around the falls, including bungee jumping, gorge swing and ziplining over the Zambezi, lion and elephant encounters, and helicopter rides and safaris in Zimbabwe and Botswana during the congress.